What are Sacraments?
"Sacrament" (derived from the Latin word sacramentum) is the word Christians use for a special moment where God shows up and gives His grace. Though there are many moments of grace in our lives, Sacraments have special rites or ceremonies instituted by God and commended by Christ. Sacraments are also signs by which we show our allegiance to Christ who seals us in redemption, renews our identity as His people, and marks us for service to the world in His name. Among the Church's traditions there are differing opinions over the number of Sacraments, and in some Churches there are as many as seven. In the Reformed tradition to which All Souls belongs, there are only two Sacraments which are Baptism and Holy Communion.
Baptism at All Souls
Like all other Reformed Churches, with the exception of Reformed Baptists, our community practices both infant and believer's baptism (by sprinkling and immersion) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In infant baptism, we confess our confidence in God’s gracious initiative, that a baby who cannot turn to God is nonetheless claimed as a member of the covenant community, a child of God, cleansed by grace and sealed by the Spirit. In believer's Baptism, we confess our confidence that God’s grace can make us new creations at any stage of our lives.
Since our tradition holds that all Trinitarian baptisms are an act of God which cannot be undone, we do not encourage rebaptism. Instead we offer a reaffirmation of baptism, and will only “rebaptize” those who were not baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
*To register for a baptism or reaffirmation, go to Guidelines and Forms (Baptism)
*Though we are affiliated with the Evangelical Reformed Church of St. Gallen, baptism within our community does NOT make one a member of the cantonal Church or the All Souls Verein [Association]. It is solely a Sacrament and a blessing that bears no legal weight.
Communion at All Souls
In Holy Communion, we confess that as we eat the bread and share one cup in remembrance of Christ, the Holy Spirit unites us to Him so that His resurrection life may nourish, strengthen, and transform us to live lives that reflect the Father's love. Though differences of opinion have divided Christians over where Jesus is present during Communion (e.g. in the elements or among His people), we believe such differences need not divide us. All that matters is that Christ is with us, and through this Sacrament He showers us with grace and love.
What about Baby Dedications?
Though our tradition permits infant baptism, we are aware that some who wish to join our community might come from traditions that do not. Therefore, we also practice infant dedication where parents bring their child before the Church to be formally introduced, prayed over, and brought into the care of the congregation.
*To register for a dedication, go to Guidelines and Forms (Dedication)